Friday, September 6, 2013

Back The Bid 2020

"Squash is the world's healthiest sport", beams the influential Forbes magazine after a survey they had conducted in 2007. Squash tops the list ahead of other popular sport such as rowing, cycling, basketball and swimming. There is this popular quote about squash that I learnt as a young boy, which reads "You don't play squash to get fit, you get fit to play squash".

Squash is indeed a blend of the fitness of our body and the creativity of our mind. This is the reason why this exciting sport is sometimes dubbed as "physical chess" because it requires more than a physical prowess to play the game. Our mind needs to constantly think and evaluate all the possible strategies, because creativity is key in squash. We need to think one step ahead of our opponent, executing the right shots as well as keeping our emotion in balance.

Squash is trying its level best to be included as one of the sport of Olympics 2020. Numerous big names and superstars outside squash are lending their hands in support of squash's bid, including Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Lee Chong Wei. Nicol David, in particular, is tirelessly trying very hard to make sure squash is included in the 2020 Olympics. She will be hitting 36 by then, a bit too late I guess, considering the surge of explosive young players emerging from Egypt now. Maybe by then, Low Wee Wern, currently world no 6, can assume the mantle of Nicol as the supreme queen of squash, and brings home our first ever gold medal of Olympics. Or maybe we can rely on Vanessa?

Vanessa Raj (centre) strikes gold in individual and team events in recently concluded Asian Youth Games (23 Aug 2013). Gone are the days when I could bully her around the court.

Vanessa will be sitting for her SPM late this year, and she is still considering her future in squash. She faces the same dilemma as her older brother, Bryan Raj. Bryan was the top rising star in Penang and Malaysia before deciding to call it quits to further his studies in medicine back in 2009. I still remember the first time I played him, he thrashed me 11-0 without breaking a sweat. He didn't exactly tell me his reason to give up competing after SPM, but their father gave me a slight hint that men's squash is overly competitive, especially considering the rise of the Egyptians. I think Vanessa is having the same thought on her mind right now...the young and rising Egyptians. They are producing world class talents with or without the revolution and uncertainties that are currently surrounding their country. Egypt will certainly dominate the world squash for many more years to come.

Two days to go before the voting takes place, I placed no hope for squash to be admitted as one of the sport in 2020 Olympics. I think wrestling will get the nod because of their rich history, and to please America and Russia as well. But it's not wrong to have a little faith, no?